Eligibility Criteria

In order to participate in the Museum Standards Programme for Ireland (MSPI), each museum must first meet three eligibility criteria. This is decided by means of an eligibility application process. Museums that complete the process, and are deemed eligible, may then be invited to join the programme and start the accreditation process.

To complete the eligibility application, museums must demonstrate that they meet all, or nearly all, of the eligibility criteria. Museums that meet nearly all of the eligibility criteria may be invited to join the MSPI programme on the understanding that, as part of the accreditation process, the 1st Assessment will indicate if there are any issues to be resolved regarding meeting the eligibility criteria. MSPI participants must meet the eligibility criteria as well as the standards to be accredited.

The eligibility application process is outlined below. An Eligibility Application Form is available from the MSPI coordinator. Please read the requirements at the top of each page carefully before completing the form. Submissions must be typed in narrative form. Museums located on multiple sites must complete a separate Eligibility Form for each of the sites. 

Please demonstrate how the museum meets each and every criterion of the museum definition below. 

(i) Applicants must demonstrate that their museum conforms to all elements of the museum definition, which has been agreed, for MSPI purposes, as follows: Museums are not for profit institutions that collect, safeguard, hold in trust, research, develop and interpret collections of original objects and original objects on loan, for the public benefit. They function publicly as places where people learn from and find inspiration and enjoyment through the display and research of original objects.

(ii) Applicants must either own all, or a significant part of, the collection or have the authority to apply on behalf of the owner. If a collection is owned by one organisation and managed by another, please clearly articulate who is responsible for each element of the museum definition.

Please structure your response under the following headings:

(a) Not-for-profit
(b) Collects
(c) Holds in trust
(d) Researches
(e) Develops and interprets
(f) Original objects and loans
(g) For the public benefit
(h) A place where people learn
(i) A place where people find inspiration and enjoyment

Briefly describe how the museum is constituted. 
Please submit a copy of one the constitutional documents.

-Deed of Trust
-Act of the Dáil 
-Memorandum and Articles of Association 
-Constitution of a charitable organisation
-Other (please define)

(i)Applicants are required to submit a copy of the museum’s constitutional documents. The constitutional documents must reflect the curatorial and management functions of the museum. The authority and/or powers to operate a museum must also be demonstrated. 

Applicants will range from national, through local to specialist and corporate bodies. National and local authority institutions may have been established under an Act of the legislature, so in that case, a copy of the relevant Act should be submitted. In other cases, a legal document may have been drawn up to enable the establishment of a museum, such as a Deed of Trust or a Memorandum or Articles of Association. 

Museums that were established by a larger parent organisation (university, local authority or diocese) must also submit documentary evidence of decisions taken by the parent body to establish the museum and their authority to do so.

Where an applicant is not incorporated or constituted in any legal form, one should submit copies of resolutions or meeting minutes that refer to the decision to establish the museum.

In exceptional cases, where documentary evidence is no longer available, one may submit a formal written declaration by the governors stating that they operate a museum under their current powers and confirming their commitment.

Please describe the type of collections held by the museum. How many objects are in the collections? How many are borrowed and/or on loan?

Give details on who owns the collections. Briefly describe the museum’s foundation and outline the subsequent development of the collections. Is the museum actively collecting? If the collection is closed or static, please give a reason.

(i) Applicants must submit a description of each collection held by the museum. This must include the nature, type, and quantity of objects. An estimated total number of objects in the museum overall must also be included. An estimated number of objects borrowed and/or on loan must also be provided.

(ii) Applicants must submit details on the ownership of the collections. If there is more than one organisation involved, the estimate proportion of objects owned by each body must be shown. The breakdown of ownership should be articulated as a percentage. 

Museums are either actively collecting, static (would collect but there are barriers, like storage space) or closed (their collection is complete). Since part of the definition of a museum is that the organisation ‘collects’, a valid reason for a collection being closed or static must be supplied.

It is important to clarify whether the applicant has a collection of its own or is the custodian of collections owned by other organisations. Where the collection, or a significant part of it, is not owned by the applicant, it is important to include a percentage breakdown of how much of the collection is owned by other organisations.

Please be aware that museums will be asked to resubmit, or possibly revise, their original Eligibility Form as part of the Accreditation application process.

Mspi Eligibility Criteria